originally posted 10/21/2010
I am still going through all of the various links on the RSOL website and am feeling more and more empowered with each section that I read. I am a registered sex offender and can say that the time I spent in corrections and therapy was all time well spent and of immeasurable benefit to me as a person in general, I grew very much from the experience. Having said that, I find the registry accomplishes exactly the opposite by stunting social development and regressing all the progress gained from counseling. I live in constant fear of being ousted by business associates (I have in fact lost business due to my being on the registry) or friends or other people who have no business knowing my record before I feel comfortable telling them, if I choose to share it with them at all. It is very dehumanizing and instills a deep sense of shame. It has affected nearly every part of my life. I have at times felt like taking my own life because I felt I could never progress with my life under the conditions I must now live with. Conditions that all registered sex offenders know all too well. Housing and employment complications I think are the most detrimental and dehumanizing of all the restrictions. My crime was non-violent and consensual and committed at a young age when I thought more with my member than my head, but I shouldn’t have my life ruined over it.
Sex offenders’ rights (or rather the taking away of them) have become nothing more than a soap box for politicians to stand on to manipulate the fears of parents in order to gain votes; a blatant grab at headlines in an election year. There is for instance no “drug offender registry” which, if I were a parent, would be of more interest to me than a sex offender registry. Drug dealers have no reservations whatsoever about dealing their drugs in broad daylight, in neighborhoods right out in the open and even at schools, libraries and parks, but there is no uproar from parents demanding to know the names and locations of convicted drug offenders. Most sex offenders on the other hand are not the creepy looking guy that jumps out of bushes and vans with blacked out windows or sits on park benches with candy trying to kidnap children. That is what the media would have everyone believe. Sex offenders are usually people that are close to the family of the victim. Of course that is really only referring to offenses against children or that are violent in nature and doesn’t account for what I would imagine to be the other 60-70% (guesstimate) of registered sex offenders whose crime didn’t involve small children or violence. The majority of sex offenders are not repeat offenders or depraved pedophiles and rapists. Yes, some sex offenders do things in life they regret and will never do again, and some simply can’t or won’t change. That is exactly why each offender should be treated as an individual instead of lumped into one broad category. It is cruel and unusual punishment to subject people to the type of persecution and punitive damages that result from being on the registry.
I am an amateur film producer and a huge fan of documentary films. I have been eager to make a documentary of my own ever since I started in the industry and one topic that I know intimately is the witch hunt that politicians and the media have stirred up over sex offenders. At first I gave little thought to making a documentary about this because I didn’t think I had anyone else in my corner and was unsure if I could raise support and gain national attention. I feel much differently now. I am putting together all of my research and trying to decide specifically what topics I should cover and the most tactful and relate-able way to present this to the masses. I believe you could be a priceless asset to me as I do so. Please let me know if there is anything you can do to help, and also if there is anything I can do to help you. Thanks very much for your efforts!